School districts grapple with decline in enrollment amid COVID-19 pandemic

Average of 3.6 percent of students are no longer enrolled

A look at new challenges schools are facing due to the pandemic

DETROIT – An average of 3.6 percent of students who were enrolled in school this time last year are nowhere to be found and school districts are trying to find out what happened.

Administrators are grappling with the decline in enrollment in terms of possible post education and financially -- if the students aren’t found, school districts will lose funding at a time when they need it most.

Detroit Public Schools Community District sent out volunteers to locate students, and the district is still missing as many as 5 percent of its students. Riverview and River Rouge schools are missing 1 percent. Southgate and Wayne Westland schools are missing 7 percent.

READ: Wellness teams sent out to check on Detroit Public Schools Community District students

The districts are concerned. First, because they don’t know where the students are. The enrollment decline is not likely largely based on cherry-picking districts based on whether parents want in-person options or want to opt into remote learning -- and so there is a guessing game.

Their second concern is per-pupil funding. Because of a waiver from Lansing lawmakers that forgives as much as a 25 percent reduction in enrollment without losing funding -- but that waiver is not in place for next year. That means if the districts don’t find and return the students they could face a reduction in per-pupil funding.

Watch the video for the full report.

READ: Tracking coronavirus cases, outbreaks in Michigan schools

About the Authors:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.